Replacing Relays

Pickering Interfaces modules are designed to allow easy repair in the field by a reasonably competent engineer. The relays generally are leaded components that can be extracted using conventional soldering tools. Care must be taken to avoid damage to the PCB when the relay is extracted. The leads of the relay must each be cleared of solder so the relay is loose in its mounting holes before removal.

Some designs for use in RF systems use surface mount relays which create fewer discontinuities and tend to improve both insertion loss and VSWR. For these designs surface mount de-soldering tools are required

For some high density cards the relays are very close together and removing a particular relay may be difficult since there is no access to the relay's sides (because of adjacent relays). In this case they can be removed by attaching an item to the top of the relay using a suitable contact adhesive. Alternatively the relay can be drilled and a self tapping screw inserted, taking care not to leave the drill detritus on the PCB when the relay is removed.

Replacement relays can be purchased either direct from the manufacturer (listed in the manual or identified on the device) or from Pickering Interfaces. It should be noted that Pickering Interfaces can often supply small volumes of relays for service purposes on a faster delivery than the OEM. Some modules are supplied with spare relays mounted on the PCB, but this is usually not the case with the highest density modules. If the module's spare relays have been used it is recommended that a replacement supply is ordered.

Pickering Interfaces strongly recommends the use of our eBIRST or BIRST test tools which can identify faulty relays quickly. Their use will avoid unnecessary stress on the PCB by positively identifying the relays at fault, avoiding misdiagnosis of the fault and reducing the time to find them. More information can be found here eBIRST and BIRST.

In very rare cases the relays may not be at fault and the problem may be in other parts of the hardware. If this is the case you may wish to consult Pickering Interfaces for further guidance.

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